Bhajis Loops Tutorial

 

Introduction

Thanks for trying Bhajis Loops! This document will present the basics of the application in a few steps, and is intended for people with a limited experience of music software. If you are familiar with PC music software, you can directly read the complete reference manual.

Before continuing, be sure that you have installed Bhajis Loops and its plug-ins properly. For that, refer to the file install.txt contained in the zip archive you have downloaded.

 

Navigating

Once you have launched the application, you will see a screen similar to this:

The row of controls at the top of the screen is the most important element of the interface of Bhajis Loops. The first icon displays the menus (you can as well press the menu key to open the menus) ; the second icon starts or stops the playback of the song. The next five icons are used to navigate between the 5 pages or views of Bhajis Loops, from left to right:

 

Loading samples

We'll start our new song by loading samples. For that, tap on the sample editor icon:

The screen will look like this:

The Edit popup list lists all the loaded samples. The sample currently selected is (empty). You can add a new sample by selecting Add new... in the popup list.

This brings a dialog box in which you can load samples:

Samples can be loaded either from Resources (a set of basic samples bundled with the Bhajis Loops application), Samples packs in RAM (Collection of samples packed in a single database) or from wav files stored on a memory card (Card). Let's load our first sample, waveform3, by selecting it in the list and tapping on Done.

We'll need three other samples for our song: repeat the following operation (Add new..., select the sample, Open) to load TR-808 bass drum, TR-808 chh, and TR-808 snare drum. At this stage, the popup list of the sample editor will look like this:

For advanced information about the sample editor, especially how you can edit the samples and apply effects, please refer to this page.

 

Creating instruments

Once the samples are loaded, instruments have to be created. An instrument is made of a sample, and of extra informations about how to play this sample. Bhajis Loops lets you create up to 64 instruments. Go to the instrument editor by tapping on the instrument editor icon:

The screen will look like this:

You can select the instrument you want to edit by using the Edit popup. As you can see, the instrument currently selected for edition is instr 1. You can select the sample used by the current instrument by using the Sample popup. The instrument instr 1 currently uses the sample sine wave. The controls at the bottom of the screen are synthesis parameters. Don't hesitate to modify them - if you are not familiar with synthesizer, the best way to learn their meaning is to experiment!

We will create four instruments:

To create the synthethic bass sound, select waveform 3 in the Sample popup. You will also need to modify the other synthesis parameters. To move a knob press and hold the stylus and move in upward or downward motion (as if drawing vertical lines). On this screenshot, the red circles show the parameter to modify: set each parameter so that it has approximately the same value as on the screenshot.

 

Now, create the 3 other instruments. Select instr 2 in the Edit list and TR-808 bass drum in the Sample list: the instrument 2 is the TR-808 bass drum. Select instr 3 in the Edit list and TR-808 chh in the Sample list ; then instr 4 in the Edit list and TR-808 snare drum in the Sample list. We're done!

Maybe you wonder why there is this separation between instruments and samples. In fact, it is very useful to have instruments and samples separated if you want to use the same sample with different settings. Also, if you want to try several hi hats or snare drums, you can load several snare drum samples and exchange them in the instrument editor without modifying your song.

To know more about the instrument editor, please refer to this page.

 

Creating patterns

Now, it's time to use these instruments in patterns! In this section, we'll create a pattern with a bass line, and another with a rhythm. The first thing to do is to switch to the pattern editor by tapping on its icon:

The main screen shows a piano roll view in which you can edit notes. The last row of the screen displays, from left to right:

Since we want to create a bassline, we need to select the first instrument. To do that, we select it in the instrument popup:

Now, we can create notes. For that, we'll select the note drawing tool (in case it is not already selected):

Now, you can draw notes on the screen to compose a bass line:

In case you entered an incorrect note, you can erase it:

That's all for our bass line! You can play it by tapping on the play button.

Once the pattern starts playing, the play button turns into a stop button.

Now, we'll create a rhythm. The piano roll view is not suitable for the creation of rhythms because the pitch information is not very important for percussions. We'd rather like to see one "line" for each instrument. This is exactly what the grid view is for. To switch to the grid view, use this tool:

The screen will look like this:

As you can see, the y axis represents the instrument instead of the pitch. Because we want to create our rhythm in another pattern, we'll need to change the current pattern. For that, tap on the pattern selector:

It displays the following dialog box, showing all the available patterns:

Select the pattern A02, and tap on Done. You now have an empty pattern. Using the draw tool, you can create the following rhythm:

Tap on play to listen to what you have done so far. Maybe you'd like a more human feeling... To do that, we'll use the Shuffle setting. Tap on the Menu icon:

And select the Song Properties command in the Options menu. Modify the Shuffle slider to a higher value, and tap on Ok.

Now, we'll see another feature available in the pattern editor: velocity edition. For example, we'll increase the velocity of the bass drum notes in the rhythmic pattern. To do that, switch to the selection tool, and draw a rectangle around the 2 bass drum notes to select them:

Then, go to the parameters view by selecting its icon:

The screen will look like this:

You can see two big handles at the position of the bass drums - meaning that these two notes are selected. Drag one of them up to increase the velocity of the bass drum notes:

That's it! You can know more about the pattern editor advanced editing functions - such as clipboard management, scales, instrument masking - by reading this page.

 

Creating the structure of the song

Now, let's go to the arrange window:

In this screen, you can create and modify the structure of the song. Each "column" is a bar ; and you can lay out patterns on each row - so that you can play up to 8 patterns simultaneously.

The last row of controls is made of:

Our song will have the following structure : bass (repeated), bass+rhythm (repeated). To do that, select the pattern A01 in the pattern selector, tap on Done to close the dialog box and return to the arrange window ; and then tap on the screen to create the repetitions of the bass:

Select the pattern A02 in the pattern selector, and create the repetitions of the rhythm:

If you press play, now you'll encounter a little problem: the first bar will be repeated! That's because the loop indicator indicates that the first bar must be played in a loop:

To repeat the 4 bars we created, you must extend the loop region. To do that, drag the stylus at the following screen position:

The result will look like this:

 

At this stage, we'll save our song: tap on the menu icon, and select the Save command in the Song menu. Select (RAM) in the popup and enter a song name (note: if you use the demo version, you won't be able to modify the name which will be set to Demo):

Tap on Save. We're done!

The arrange window provides many editing facilities, and several important operations can be carried out from this page. Please refer to this section of the documentation for more details.

 

Modifying volume and adding effects

We'll finally add effects to our song and adjust the level of each instrument. For that, let's go to the Mixer page.

Each column of controls represents an instrument. For each instrument you can select: the amount of effect to apply (there are 4 effect buses, accessible using the numbers 1 2 3 4 on the right of the screen), the position of the instrument in the stereo field, and finally, the volume of this instrument. We'll modify the settings like this (the red circles show the parameters to modify):

You can now press the play button.

Maybe you wonder why don't you hear any effect for instruments 1, 3 and 4 (for which you selected a non-null amount of effect). This is because you haven't selected an effect plug-in in the plug-ins list on the right. Select Reverb in the first popup list, which is for now displaying (none) :

We can now hear the reverb! You can read more about plug-ins, the mixer, and automation in this section.

The final bjm file and a mp3 can be downloaded here.

 

Exporting as a .wav file on your PC

This step is only for registered users who own an expansion card and a Windows PC!

  1. Go back to the arrange window
  2. Tap on the menu button, and select the Save as command in the Song menu.
  3. In the popup list at the bottom of the Save as dialog, select your memory card.
  4. Enter a name for your song, and tap on the Save button.
  5. Tap on the menu button, and select the SynchroPoolp command in the Song menu.
  6. Tap on the Add song button.
  7. In the dialog box displayed on the screen, select your memory card in the popup list, and your song in the main file list. Then, tap on Open.
  8. Tap on Done.
  9. Hotsync!

A .wav file has been created in your HotSync directory. This directory is C:\Palm\Leo\SynchroPoolp or C:\Program Files\Palm\Leo\SynchroPoolp ; where Leo is replaced by your HotSyncId or a short version of your HotSyncId (it might be truncated to 6 characters).

 

Exporting as a .wav file directly on your Palm (aka "onboard export")

This step is only for the registered users who own an expansion card with a couple of Mb of free space.

  1. Go back to the arrange window
  2. Tap on the menu button, and select the Render command in the Song menu.
  3. A default location has been selected (/AUDIO directory). You can modify the file name of your .wav file if you want.
  4. Tap on the Save button
  5. A dialog box will be displayed during the rendering, showing which part of your song is being rendered.

Now, a .wav has been created on your card! You can copy it to your PC or Mac using a card reader, or a program such as CardExport.

 

All contents and code © Olivier Gillet 2003-2006 - ol dot gillet at gmail dot com